Friday, December 1, 2023

Meet Robby Megabyte, a humanoid robot that can sing, play musical instruments

Dubioza Kolektiv, Bosnia’s most popular rock band, has a new member who sings and plays musical instruments: a humanoid robot named Robby Megabyte.

This new humanoid-shaped device was developed by students at the Sarajevo University’s electrical engineering school after the band requested a robot designed to fit the concept of their album #fakenews, which was released last year.

Engineers used recycled materials, including an axle shaft from an old Volkswagen Golf G2, and baby trolley wheels to create the platform on which the Robby Megabyte moves. The design began in 2018, and the works ended after two years.

Of course, a project of this style was not going to be easy at all. Almir Besic, one of the leading students involved in the development of Robby Megabyte, told Reuters that the project had been a challenge because they knew nothing at first about the 3D printing needed to build the robot and lacked the necessary equipment. They first assembled the hand and tested the functioning of the fist: in total, it took six months for printing and assembly alone.

And from the first movements to the musical debut, it was a short step. Robby became the symbol of the band’s new album.

In the video clip for the #fakenews album, one of the band members thought of having a robot doing his job while he relaxes and has fun, so he ordered a robot and assembled it together. Ultimately, the whole band was replaced by robots in the music video, allowing the members to go out and party. But they then get locked out of their studio, and the robots have the last laugh, invite the young women to dance and drink as the men look from the outside. “Every little thing is under machine control,” Robby sings in a song called “Take my job away.”

The band Dubioza Kolektiv is known for its eclectic musical style and politically committed lyrics. Robby also participated in the band’s weekly concerts called “Quarantine Show” during the quarantine imposed last year to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.